Friday, October 29, 2010

Milestoning in order to drill down into the information

Over the past few weeks I've been in a flurry of activity. At one particular team meeting, I implored the Contract Specialists with whom I sit to invite me into the process, so that I can begin to actually see what is going on.  For the majority of the time I'd been in the division up to then, I had focused almost singularly on the writing of regulations and a new template for Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain contracts, but had not actually witnessed any of the goings on in action. Since then, I've been on multiple site visits, participated in award meetings bid openings, conference calls, and pre-proposal conferences, meetings with policy analysts, general counsels, and all the time maintaining a breakneck pace with developing the writing projects I've been given, and completing class assignments. I suppose I ought to be tired. But, I'm sticking to my self-made promise of exercising during the week, and going on no less than an hour's walk on the weekends. We'll have to see how I accomplish that once it gets cold. But the agency recently granted me access to the fitness facility in the building, so that should prove interesting.

This past week I attended a presentation at the Brookings Institute, the first time I'd ever been there, which provided me with more than enough material to write a solid article on the matter. In stark contrast, I feel that sitting in a room with so many education experts, including the Special Assistant to the President on Education from the Public Policy Council that I may not necessarily have gone down the wrong path. At one point in history, when, to quote one of my professors: "...and then Western Capitalism collapsed..." everyone - including teachers - were loosing their jobs, it seemed that the decade plus of my life that I had spent in the pursuit of higher understanding of education, its principles, and how to apply them, all of the practice, all of the development, had been entirely in vain. But then, enter my time as an interpreter, and following that, my entree into the National Urban Fellows program, and it seems that everything happens for a reason.

Having been through the entirety of the above, it's an interesting thought experiment to consider what is the significance of 'leadership.' That term can apply to the classroom, the agency, study groups, and of course, the frequently named municipal, state and federal levels. But I have yet to truly find myself a leadership role model after whom I would pattern myself, at least in the Public Administration/Business arena. I carry with me images of leadership styles that come from the dojo, and from Steinhardt, and ready comparisons for what Jim Collins would term Level 5 Leadership.

Interestingly, and speaking of leadership, tomorrow is Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity. Amusingly, at the same time, the good folks at have convened an erstwhile collection of Federal level employees, intent on bringing attention to the fact that they, in direct opposition to the popular belief that they are lackadaisical, unskilled, and poorly trained, are anything but those three adjectives for a parallel rally. Additionally, they hope to present that working for the Federal Government carries with it a distinct collection of benefits unavailable to those in positions outside of its purview.

In any event, stay tuned to my Examiner page for the next amazing adventure, and here for insightful commentary on the commentary.

Facade of the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.

This, it seems, is a strong argument for story based learning. Every time I hear the word 'rally' this scene kicks on in my head. Never fails:

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